Groundswell: Chapter Thirty-one

Shonda cruised down 1-35 past the roadblock, without slowing down. They’d have noticed and sent someone in pursuit.

Shit. They meant business–There were at least six M-ATVs that she could see. When there were that many, she knew, there were always more.

What are they doing here? Surely they wouldn’t….

“Oh,” she muttered, reaching for her phone, “Yes they would. And they will.

She opened the phone to call Logan, but she didn’t have a signal.

“Fucking backwoods hillbilly bullshit. Fuck!”

She found herself wishing she’d packed more than two guns as she drove onward, looking for an alternate way to access the town.

***

From his upstairs study, Wallace could see them coming up the long driveway that led to the secluded, luxurious home he’d built for himself some thirty-odd years back. They’d no doubt crashed the gate. Pity. He’d had it hand-forged.

“Welp,” he said, getting up from his seat by the window to pour himself a scotch and soda, “all good things, I s’pose.”

He raised his glass to no one. “Cheers,” he said, and downed the entire drink.

He wasn’t afraid to die–fear was a feeling, and he didn’t have those anymore. He wasn’t sure he ever had.

He’d made a good life for himself, and he’d never wasted a second of it lamenting the loss of those who had died to make it possible.

He opened the wall safe behind the large mirror he’d so often paused to both admire and hate himself in over the decades. He removed the detonator box from inside, locked the safe, and sat back down.

“Now,” he said, stroking the box with his bony, wrinkled fingers as if it were a cat, “we wait.”

It didn’t take them long. He heard them break down the front door; heard the shuffle of bootsteps up the stairs.

When three armed, armored men burst through the door, he smiled.

“Good afternoon, gentlemen.”

One of the men pointed his weapon at Wallace. One of the others grabbed his arm. “Look! What’s that he’s got?”

“God forgive me,” said Wallace. He frowned. He was feeling something. Guilt? Was this what guilt felt like?

Might as well cover all my bases.

“For everything,” he said. He pressed the button.

“What did you just do?” demanded one of the men. He ran forward and snatched the box, which had a red blinking light atop it.”

“You could run,” said Wallace, but you’ve only got about twenty seconds left, way I figure it. I’m afraid we’ll all have to die here in each other’s company.”

He leaned forward, elbows on knees, and scratched his chin. “So let’s make the most of the time we have left. Why don’t y’all tell me about yourselves?”

They took off down the stairs, and from what Wallace could tell, they were about halfway across the living room when everyone in the house ceased to exist.

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